11-Jan-2011

Facebook Insights

How often have you experienced the exhilaration and satisfaction of solving a problem? It does not have to be a critical problem. It can be a fairly standard obstacle standing in your way to further progress or achievement. Today was one of those experiences for me.

I have been monitoring visitor feedback, Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to see how my site content is or is not appealing to visitors. There are a number of ways for visitors to voice their feedback.

  • You can contact me through my Provide Feedback Provide Feedback Button page.
  • You can contact me via my Facebook profile.
  • You can click the Facebook Like Button Facebook Like Button.
  • You can use the AddToAny Button AddToAny Button to share my pages with your friends or to save the bookmark for yourself.
  • You can Like my fan page using the Find us on Facebook on the right.
  • You can follow me on Twitter.

I examined my pages visually looking for Like Button counts as your positive feedback and approval. I was not seeing many Likes. I then examined Facebook Insights which is a service that Facebook provides for Like and Share count statistics. Sure enough Facebook Insights shows a decent number of Likes and Shares, with slightly more of the latter. But the quandary remains - why are the Like counts not showing next to the Facebook Like Button Facebook Like Button?

After doing some Search Now, Search Later, Search Forever, I realized that many people have experienced problems with Like counts not showing up or not counted correctly. And as typical with many problem reports on the Internet, there is much more expression of problems than solutions offered. The Internet is a hard place to get closure!

Here is what I found to be the cause of my problem with Like counts. If this is relevant to you as a fellow programmer or website owner, then I am happy to be able to share my solution with you. Be sure to journal your feedback, approval and like as covered above.

In the HTML iframe code which invokes Facebook Like Button processing, a URL must be specified. I use implicit references to index.php. For example, in my Feedback page, the URL is http://this1that1whatever.com/feedback/ with implicit reference to a PHP script named index.php. As I discovered, the Facebook Like Button processing code is sensitive to a well-defined URL right down to the PHP script level. The URL must be specified as http://this1that1whatever.com/feedback/index.php inside the HTML iframe code.

To close this blog entry, here is the demographics report from Facebook Insights for this site, in terms of likes and shares. Click to view larger image.

View larger image


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